‘Will be surprised if he’s not picked in Indian side’: Cheteshwar Pujara heaps praise on seamer
India Test No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara has backed Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadakat to be picked for the Indian side after the fast bowler led his side to their maiden Ranji Trophy title with a breakthrough performance with the ball.
Unadkat picked up 67 wickets this season - the most by any pacer in the hisotry of the tournament - at an average of 13.23, but more importantly, bowled match-winning spells in both the semi-final and final of the Ranji Trophy.
He took seven wickets against Gujarat and, on Friday, dismissed a well-set Anustup Majumdar before effecting a run out in the same over to tilt the game decisively in his team’s favour.
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Pujara said he would surprised if Unadkat doesn’t get a national call-up. “Jaydev was modest that he would not be thinking about the Indian call but I will be surprised if he is not picked in the Indian team,” said the Test specialist who too made a crucial contribution in the final despite being unwell.
“Jaydev has bowled exceptionally well throughout the season. If someone takes 67 wickets in a season, I don’t think there is anyone who can perform better in the Ranji Trophy. There has to be lot of importance to Ranji Trophy performance to get picked for the Indian team,” Pujara said.
Unadkat, who fell one short of the record of 68 wickets in a Ranji Trophy season, said he his hunger is more than ever.
“I still have that hunger to make a comeback. The hunger has never been stronger than this and that actually kept me going throughout the season,” said Unadkat after captaining Saurashtra to their maiden trophy.
“To be honest, it was challenging physically surviving the season. Bowling those long spells as a fast bowler in almost every game.
“I just want to keep this phase going. I don’t want to end it here. Yes, we have won the trophy and I am the happiest captain in the world right now If I can say that.” The 28-year-old last played for India in 2018, a T20I against Bangladesh, and he played his only Test in 2010 and last of his seven ODIs in 2013.
(With PTI inputs)